Deliver Reliable and Trustworthy Metro Style Apps Through Windows Store; Firefox Metro Startpage Demo'd

Customers want to safely enjoy Windows 8 and the apps you build. The Metro style app experience is designed to make it easy for you to build apps that everyone can try and buy with confidence. This new ecosystem will help you build apps that people will be delighted with, said Microsoft in a blog […]

App Confidence: Windows 8 SDK for Metro style apps, Windows App Certification Kit, App Signatures,

Customers want to safely enjoy Windows 8 and the apps you build. The Metro style app experience is designed to make it easy for you to build apps that everyone can try and buy with confidence. This new ecosystem will help you build apps that people will be delighted with, said Microsoft in a blog post detailing the Windows Store platform level to deliver reliable and trustworthy Metro style apps.

"Our goal with the platform is to help us all build great apps that embody this vision of confidence so that we get confidence by default," wroted John Hazen, program manager on the Windows 8 Developer Experience team.

Aside from developers having to go through a certification process for their Metro apps before the app can be published, the Store also makes allows customers to provide ratings and reviews that will help the best apps stand out.

"After installing an app if the customer has concerns about app content or behavior, they can easily report their concern and we can follow up with you to address any problems identified. Helping customers decide which apps best meet their needs and allowing customers to provide input and feedback is an important way to improve overall confidence in the Windows 8 app ecosystem," Hazen said. Finally, the Store collects telemetry data that can help you investigate problems your customers see, including the number and types of crashes they suffered.

App listing page from the Windows Store

Also, on Windows 8, customers no longer have to wade through a series of questions or click button after button. After logging into the Store, they just have to click the button, confirm the purchase, and go!

"Not only is installation handled, but Windows uses digital signatures to ensure the integrity of your app all the way from the Store to installation and even when the app is loaded and running on your customer's computer. If Windows detects that the app no longer matches its digital signature, it guides the customer to download a corrected version from the Store," Hazen said.

The Windows 8 SDK for Metro style apps is a great foundation to build apps that customers won't hesitate to install. Microsoft advises developers to resist the temptation to find ways to invoke APIs that are not included in the SDK. "While it is possible to hide or obfuscate calls to APIs that are not included in the SDK, this is still a violation of customer expectations and Store policy," he said.

On Windows 8, each Metro style app runs in the context of a "unique app container" that helps insulate it and its data from other Metro style apps. App containers provide a few characteristics that are shared by all Metro style apps:

  • "Provide a dedicated environment for your app, including your own store for data and settings. You've little worry that some other Metro style app will change your app's data, settings, or behavior.
  • Help ensure that your app doesn't accidently interfere with the reliability of the Windows platform itself, or accidently use your customers' data or devices in ways they don't expect.
  • Provide a well-defined way to extend the capabilities of your app through declarations you make in the manifest and disclose to your customer in the app listing page," wrote Hazen.

The app container can be extended in a variety of ways using capability declarations, each of which is designed to enable certain scenarios.

Here is a quick overview:

  • Windows Store - For customers, it starts with the Store, their one-stop-shop for Metro style apps. To get into the Store your app is reviewed for both technical and policy compliance, including security checks. After it's published to the Store, your app will be rated and reviewed by the community. Together, the onboarding process and community reviews help create an environment in which customers can try apps with confidence.
  • App install - Windows 8 handles all the details of deploying apps on your behalf so your customers don't have to worry that installing, updating, or removing one app will adversely affect other apps.
  • SDK - Windows 8 SDK for Metro style apps provides a well-defined set of APIs that help you build reliable apps that conform to the Store onboarding requirements and provide the best experiences for your customers.
  • App container and capabilities - Windows 8 provides a greater degree of separation between apps than was possible with traditional desktop apps, so you can build apps that interact with each other in more predictable ways, giving customers a more consistent experience.

In other Windows 8 news, Mozilla in a video shows off the its new under development browser for running Metro UI.

"Windows 8's Metro environment is a tile-based, touch-optimized, cross-platform system. To make Firefox shine on this unique environment, the UX team on MetroUI project has been focusing on solving some design challenges, such as: delivering a consistent "Firefoxy" experience and also making it native on Metro; designing an equally awesome experience of Firefox Metro on desktop using mouse and keyboard," writes Yuan Wang.